From Muse to Reality

Fiction, Politics and Essays


Negro History_1917

African American professor,


University of Chicago to honor its first African American professor,
Julian H. Lewis, on Feb. 21

By Kerrie Kennedy

Julian H. Lewis, pictured here in 1917 in his graduation gown, was the first African American to teach at the University of Chicago. He joined the UChicago faculty after finishing his MD at Rush Medical College.
By Kerrie Kennedy

Julian H. Lewis was a man who accomplished many significant “firsts” in his lifetime and yet he remains something of a mystery. A Black History Month event on Saturday, Feb. 21 will celebrate the life and legacy of Lewis, who was the first African American to teach at the University of Chicago, and who later was heralded as the father of anthropathology, a field that looks at racial differences in the expression of disease.

He is virtually unknown, not just within the University, but to the whole world,” said Robert L. Branch II, an independent scholar who has studied the history of Lewis’ life and who will speak at the event. “That’s why I wanted to be part of this, to finally give him his recognition. This is the greatest unknown story of the greatest unknown medical and African American pioneer of the 20th century,” said Branch.

Lewis is known to be one of the earliest African Americans in history to hold both an MD and a PhD. His groundbreaking research on race and blood typing led to his equally path-breaking book, Biology of the Negro, published in 1942. “It was the first book of its kind to objectively use science to dispel the myth of a superior race,” said Branch. “It literally changed people’s perspectives on race.” Born in 1891 in Shawneetown, Ill., Lewis was the son of two educators who were born into and later liberated from slavery. It was 100 years ago that Lewis earned his PhD in physiology and pathology from the University of Chicago, graduating magna cum laude in a year and a half. He then earned his MD from Rush Medical College and joined the UChicago faculty in 1917, as an instructor in pathology. In 1923, he became an assistant professor.
A noted expert in immunology at UChicago, Lewis later received a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowship to study in Switzerland. He left UChicago in 1943, and continued his career at Provident Hospital, the first black-owned and operated hospital in the United States. Lewis held a number of other positions from 1952 until his death in 1989.

Joining Branch as event presenters will be Christopher Crenner, the Ralph Major and Robert Hudson professor and chair of history and philosophy of medicine, at the University of Kansas School of Medicine, and Tyrone Haymore, founder, director and curator of the Robbins Historical Society and Museum, in Robbins Ill.

The presenters also will look at Lewis’ impact on the culture of the University of Chicago itself, and the network of support he created at a time when many students were confronting racism. “While he was never tenured, and that remains a question,” Branch said, “Lewis became a catalyst for promoting diversity at UChicago. His achievements had a far-reaching impact.”

As an activist and mentor, Lewis supported and championed the early careers of a number of prominent African Americans at UChicago, from dancer Katherine Dunham to the late Prof. James E. Bowman, father of Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor to President Barack Obama.

“I would be hard pressed to name any prominent black student or faculty member of his era who didn’t benefit from Lewis’ support,” said Bart Schultz, director of the Civic Knowledge Project, sponsor of the event. “He had a terrific impact as a scientist, but he also was a remarkable person.”

While teaching at UChicago, Lewis became the “bridge” between the University and Provident Hospital. “He was a pioneer in many respects,” said Crenner.

A highlight of the event will be the unveiling of a specially commissioned oil painting of Lewis, which will be donated to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, scheduled to open in Washington, D.C. in 2016. Representatives from the Smithsonian will be at the event for the presentation of the painting.

“The Life and Legacy of Julian H. Lewis” will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 21, at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St.

The event is free and open to the public.
Reservations may be made for the event by connecting to:
For more information, visit uchicago/diversityproject.


Minnie E. Miller



Dear Senator

Honorable Richard Durbin,

Keeping up with the news, several issues have troubled me.

The Department of Labor said Illinois’ unemployment rate is 8.6% (rarely to they report unemployment among people of color, which is generally more than 3 times higher). Also bothersome is the reduction in the food stamp program (hidden the Farm Bill). Hanging in the balance is denial of continued emergency unemployment compensation benefits will rock this nation.

“Worse, a recent report by the Pew Charitable Trusts projected Illinois would be dead last among 50 States for job creation in 2014.”

How is it possible that this “Great Nation” can be so callus?

I will listen very closely to President Obama‘s State of the Nation speech this evening, but I must say in advance, he cannot run this nation alone.

Retired but still connected.

~~~ 0 ~~~

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The Media and other Pop-offs

The Media and other “Pop-Offs,” as President Obama calls some individuals who frame their articles and sound bits with metaphors.

The bombing of Paris has added to uninformed comments about the Syrian Refugees on the march to freedom and safety. Neither of the opinionated can declare war. The opinions expressed in the last seven or eight days lets me know that I would not what to see them as President of the United States.

President Obama has maintained a cool head today while fear and anger pervades some Americans and others. I would not want to see our young men and women sent to God knows where to fight alone. There are many allies surrounding Syria and Iraq who should get off the sidelines and join in the battle to defeat ISIS. Make no mistake, ISIS can and will be defeated.

“On the Media,” a PBS talk show, has criticized writers and editors of framing unvetted news stories on the Paris attacks. You might want to check them out. I was looking for a rebuttal on these reports when I heard the show Sunday morning. Go to and listen for yourself.

My memory was taken back to Negro history and the uproar caused when President Abraham Lincoln suggested freeing slaves, and arming them with guns in the fight against the Confederate Army, years 1863-’64. It is my hope that if and when these 10,000 (first number discussed) Syrian Refugees are settled in our country that they receive more respect and assistance resettling than our Negro solders at the end of the Civil War. Many left the military with nowhere to sleep and eat. Many returned to their old plantations and resumed their role as free laborers. Some hid in the woods, and survived on little food smuggled in by other trusted Slaves, and dodged slave-hunters hired by Slavemasters. And those caught and resisted were hung.

Nevertheless, there is doubt that any of the above will happen to the Syrian Refugees allowed to enter the United States of America.


Minnie E Miller

African American Writer






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Violence Metastasized

October 7, 2015

The Realty of Our Violence

By Hermene D. Hartman


“Fear approaches. The violence has metastasized and the terror is expanding. ”

When I first heard the word Metastasized I understood it had something to do with breast cancer, knew it was bad. Today, reading N’Digo’s Magapaper for the Urbane, my fear has increased. Guns and shootings have become too invasive in America. My neighborhood is infested with guns. We are losing this generation to killers.

Many on the news say they are not going to let fear rule their lives. I have poor eyesight and will not carry a gun, and I’m too old to run.

Where are our gods?

Minnie E. Miller


Pope Francis

If I may be so bold, I was captured by these word more than the many spoken by Pope Francis:

“A selfish and boundless thirst for power and material prosperity leads both to the misuse of available natural resources and to the exclusion of the weak and disadvantaged.”

I have no doubt that Pope Francis challenged President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner in their private meetings in Washington,  D.C.

The people of America have spoken with their presence on all fronts. I am not of the Catholic faith, but I heard him.

September 2015.

Minnie E Miller

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It’s Real Out Here in These Streets: CHI RAQ

Originally posted on The Chicago Defender:

Spike Lee planked by parents of murdered children in Chicago Spike Lee planked by parents of murdered children in Chicago

It’s Real Out Here in These Streets: CHI RAQ

By Mary L. Datcher

CD Senior Staff Writer

The very word Chiraq conjures up negative feelings by many who think it can do no good.   Together Spike Lee and Father Pfleger called a press conference to discuss the concerns of critic’s preconceived notions of the film’s name, Chi Raq. Will this film depict negative images of exploitation that some Chicago public officials are concerned will affect outside perception. The film has come under scrutiny by Alderman Will Burns (4th Ward) in blocking $3 million in tax breaks putting pressure on the Lee’s production efforts.

Although, the press conference included about 25 parents of murdered children who have fallen to the violence of crime that plagues our streets and neighborhoods, the name is still unnerving for some leaders. Father Pfleger has…

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Black life matters, only if you act like it does

My guest for this week: Lorenzo Clemons <>
Subject: Baltimore and other violence: A note

Black life matters, only if you act like it does.
By Lorenzo Clemons

Today is the day I have had my fill of this statement as I have with other catch phrases that makes for good new tee shirts but does nothing to advance the discussion with some workable solutions.

Folks it is not the protest in Baltimore that is the problem, it is the mindless violence by a few who will never ever get it. Yes Black Life Matters so does any life! As a Black man who is active I speak to race and relating all the time, I also speak to mindless violence all the time. If Black Life Matters, then prove it by how you respond and protest. When young people go rouge, they endanger those who are there because they understand the situation and want to support the cause and cure the frustration. Why would you put them in harms way based on your mindless need of useless expression for violence. You keep alive the very thing you should be fighting against?

It is a fact that African Americans are dying at the hands of some police departments, but I still am just as angry about the senseless and mindless violence that is affecting our communities almost daily.

This weekend in Chicago’s Washington Park (1 shot), Maywood (1 shot and killed), Humboldt Park (2 shot), Chicago Lawn (3 shot), West Pullman (1 shot), Auburn Gresham (1 shot), and East Garfield Park (1 shot and killed). Come on, I am with you let us burn down the neighborhood, oh, Black life Matters?

So Baltimore, Maryland must burn because Black Life Matter, yet the life of the Black female Mayor and the Black Male Police Chief who tried to show patience in this situation have been ignored and their life and existence does not matter one iota to those who loot and burn.

Know this there are those who have no value about life. They have no value about their family, their community and certainly not anyone they deem not speaking to the idiocy of the life they have embraced. I have said this time and time again, that it is time to call out these fools and the family that protects them in their violent nonsense.

We have some serious issues with education, economics and racism that must be addressed and worked on to find a solution. It does us no good to have to figure out ways to address, deal with and make sense out of these people. There is no sense in the senseless!

Hell yes I am angry when I see a shoot first, ask questions later approach to policing. It angers me because I know it can happen to me based on how I look and how I respond to some police officers. That has to be corrected without any limitation on the correcting. I know that if I was traveling in any of the before mentioned Chicago communities, I may have been shot by a stray bullet. Pick your poison my friend shot at home or abused while driving?

You think Black lives matter? In those same communities, try and call a cab, order a pizza, sit on the porch enjoying chatter with you neighbor or just trying to get a decent sleep in your own bed? Man was siting on his couch in Chicago’s Roseland community and was killed by a shooter aiming at someone else. Yep black life matters?

Take me to task and tell me I don’t understand the suffering; call me any name you wish it had been done before and as Maya Angelou states “still I raise”.
I will continue to speak about the violence that hits home daily to those who are just trying to stay alive and not knowing if you are even safe when you make it home.

“I don’t need any amen from outside the community on what I am writing just control the police, and I don’t need any amen from in side the community just control you children!”

Next time someone tells you Black life matters, tell them go wear a tee shirt and be done if you are not really ready to make that statement true and workable. They will be in fashion but nothing really will be accomplished until the next tee shirt, hoody, teddy bear display is placed.

Black life matters, only if you act like it does!!!

Lorenzo Clemons
“Do it because it is right and fair. Do it because you will make the world better.”
Minnie E. Miller

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Toni Morrison

Literary Unicorn Toni Morrison Schools Stephen Colbert On Racism & The One “Fairly Substantial Mistake” She Made

Nov 21, 2014 By Shardae Jobson

MUST READ: Rutgers Pays “Jersey Shore” Star More Than Toni Morrison To Appear
Through her strong but affable manner, she exclaimed that for years she didn’t read her novels after completion, but felt her “books are worthy” of accolades like the Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize “because they are separate from me”. When she recently picked up a copy of Beloved however, she found it to be “really, really good!” We could’ve told her that!

toni morrison
Regarding what passage or novels she would like to do over, Morrison felt she made a “fairly substantial mistake” when scribing her heartbreaking debut The Bluest Eye. She would’ve liked to provide “justice for one of the characters. A character I didn’t like”. Hmmmm….The Bluest Eye definitely had its share of flawed folk. If you’ve read the book (and please get to it if you haven’t!) who do you think she was referring to?

On the subject of race, without mentioning Ferguson or any 2014 headlines, Colbert asked: “Can I as a White man, understand the African-American experience?” Cue the pen and pad for this one. Morrison stated: “There’s no such thing as race. None. It’s just the human race. Scientifically, anthropologically. Racism is a construct. A social construct. And it has benefits. Money can be made off of it. People who don’t like themselves can feel better because of it…It has a social function. Racism…”

It’s confirmed. Toni Morrison is a unicorn.
This was definitely one of Stephen Colbert’s best interviews yet. Wouldn’t they make a great duo if she was on the show regularly? #yesplease

Related Links:
Toni Morrison Writes For Chipotle & We’re Like, Has It Come To This?

My notes: Ms. Morrison speaks with atticism–concise and elegant expression.
As to the title, why is Toni Morrison likened to a unicorn? To better understand their use of the word, I looked up unicorn and found the following:

unicorn in Culture Expand
unicorn definition
A mythical animal resembling a small horse but with a long, straight horn growing out of its forehead. Often it was described as having the legs of a deer and the tail of a lion. Some sources claim it was visible only to virgins.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Minnie E. Miller


Such Hypocrisy!

Religious freedom?

What is going on here and what is the purpose? What shameful behavior by human beings.

“The Arkansas House has approved a religious freedom measure that mirrors the one signed into law last week in Indiana that opponents there say opens the door to discrimination against gays and lesbians.

“Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Monday that he’d sign the measure.

“Fourteen other states are considering similar proposals this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.”

I think they are thinking about it.

A N D…

“Could Indiana’s new religious freedom law be used as legal justification for smoking marijuana? Maybe.
The First Church of Cannabis Inc. has been approved by Indiana officials after the state’s controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act was signed into law last week.

“Bill Levin, founder of the church, reportedly filed paperwork almost immediately after Gov. Mike Pence signed the act into law last Thursday with hopes of having the church approved as a religious organization “based on love and understanding with compassion for all.”

The church lists cannabis, also called “the healing plant,” as its sacrament.

“It is our fountain of health, our love, curing us from illness and depression. We embrace it with our whole heart and spirit, individually and as a group,” according to the church’s “New Deity Dozen.”


P L E A S E!

Minnie E. Miller


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